The Cleaning Power of Fire.
Luther burns the papal bull; the pope returns the favour and burns Luther’s books.
The relationship between Luther and church leaves the realm of academic, theological argumentation and enters the dangerous territory of power politics. If some monk challenges the authority of pope and church, what do you think all those power-hungry princes will do to the finely tuned structure of the Holy Roman Empire? If the pope can’t control a measly German monk, the church is free lunch for nobles who stare jealously at its power.
So the church does what institutions always do when they are wrong. They employ their power. The pope writes the bull “Exsurge Domine” that threatens Martin Luther with excommunication. And for good measure the church also employs the cleaning power of fire. They call faithful Catholics to burn Martin Luther’s books.
In the long history of theology burning book and people has never solved anything. Ideas don’t burn. And when Luther’s books are burned the Reformers get out their own matches. On December 10, 1520, sixty days after the papal bull had reached Luther, he and a couple of his co-reformers and his students assembled at the Elster Gate in Wittenberg and light a big bonfire. They tossed the cannon law, the law of the church into the fire as well as Roman Catholic writings. “Into the fire with you”, said Luther and he himself tossed the papal bull into the flames.
Please click the link below to check out our video ministry 1517 Grace Guerrilla.